Dec. 11, 2015

Expectations?

Several years ago as a hospital chaplain I was called to the bedside of a female patient. I knocked on the door and the patient invited me to come in. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The sun was shining and there was an arrangement of flowers that evidently someone had thoughtfully brought to her during her hospital stay. She invited me to sit down so I took a seat next to the bed. I wondered what kind of need she might have that would cause her to call for the chaplain. As we exchanged pleasantries she began to tell me about her life and her family. Then she began to unfold what I thought was the reason for the visit. She began to tell me about the recent death of her husband. How she told me this news did not seem to fit with her facial expressions. She did not show any emotions. I thought this lack of emotions at the recent loss of her husband seemed a bit odd. Then what happened next brought into focus the reason she had called the chaplain. She began to unravel the fact that she had two adult children, a son and a daughter. She told me that they had forbade her from showing any emotions concerning their father's death. This placed her in somewhat of a precarious position. She was being called upon by her children to be in control in the face of a situation they could not control. I sat forward in my seat as I began to listen intently to this wounded woman's story. The expectations placed on her were so heavy she was beginning to collapse under the pressure.

I offered my hand to her and she took it. I began to offer my sorrowful concern for the loss of her husband. I also offered my support for her children as they too struggled with their father's death. All of a sudden, as she squeezed my hand, a tear began to roll down her face and soon others began to follow. Perhaps for the first time she was beginning to experience the relief from the expectations that had been placed upon her.

Expectations have the power to imprison us often because we give those expectations that power. Love is the only force that can free us from expectations because with Love there are no expectations because Love already knows.